Another Baby — Well Maybe

brothers-family-siblings-boys-50692BY KATHY P. BEHAN

A friend called the other day to tell me her husband had just been sterilized. That brought the count to four of couples I know who’ve recently made this decision. Being a member of the “to be” or “not to be” parents again debating society, I envy these people their certainty.

How do you know when you’ve had enough kids? Actually there are days when I know. Those are the days I’m refereeing arguments and complaints non-stop. That’s when I know two children are too many and I’d be insane to have a third. Then there are those other times when the kids are so adorable, fun and cooperative; the kind of days you had kids for. Or, you check on them while they’re sleeping, nestled cozily in their beds and looking like angels. That’s when I get this tug at my heart, and picture what another child might look, or be like.

I love my boys; they’ve added a dimension to my life I’d never have had without them. But being a parent is awfully hard work, especially when you’re starting from scratch with an infant. I’m not sure I can, or want to handle the extra chaos, organization and maintenance of another child; not to mention the physical, financial and time demands of a third.

On the other hand, my biological clock (don’t you just hate that term) is rapidly winding down, and I don’t want to have a huge age difference between my kids. I really do think I want another child; I’m not ready to call it quits on my baby-making days.

Of course I’m not alone in making this decision. My husband’s in the trenches with me, fighting the same baby battle. However, the odds are he’s heavily leaning toward a new addition. After all, he’s a fabulous father and thrives in his daddy role, and he comes from a large family (10 kids!). But he’s nice (or cowardly) enough to say that since I’ll be the one most profoundly affected by this choice, I should have the ultimate say.

When considering this debate on a purely logical and factual basis, the odds are heavily stacked against number three. Yet these aren’t the only factors to take into account. There’s another element that must be added to the equation, probably the most significant one; my heart. Maybe that’s the only reason that’s truly important. After all, God did give us emotions as well as brains.

In this case maybe the smartest thing you can do is to follow your heart. At least that’s what I’ve decided to do. (Editor’s note: This column was written around a year before the author’s number three, a daughter, was born.)

Kathy P. Behan, a mother of three, is a nationally published freelance writer, specializing in health and family issues.

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